Lewis' Blog Tales from the trenches of information technology

20Jan/100

Why there’s nothing wrong with NetWare

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I'm so tired of hearing "NetWare is dead."

How many years have I heard, "OS/2 is dead..."? More than I care to count. Still, I use OS/2 every day. In fact, I use OS/2 as my normal system on my ThinkPad. I rarely boot to Windows. For Windows applications, I either connect to a Citrix session (which runs a remote Windows desktop) or I use VirtualBox, which allows me to run Windows in a controlled environment...er...in a virtual machine.

The fact is that any operating system which is performing its tasks and running without issue on a given set of hardware is not dead at all. More accurately, it is fulfilling its design requirements, and providing good value for the investment.

So why this big push to abandon NetWare? Because Novell wants to sell more licenses for SLES, I suppose. However, NetWare is still bundled with OES 2. Lack of support from Novell? Who cares? When was the last time any of us really needed engineering support for NetWare 6.5? Surely, we have applied support packs as they became available, but mainly as preventative measures, not because the server was crashing and "this latest service pack was supposed to finally fix it." NetWare simply never shipped in an unstable state, unlike every version of Windows since 3.1.

My point is that if you have a small shop and are using NetWare - and eDirectory - to manage users, files, and print services, what's the point of ripping everything out and replacing it with something - anything - else? Isn't NetWare still getting the job done? Quietly...without intrusion on the important things in life...transparently... Isn't that what an operating system is supposed to do in the first place?

There are tons of scam artists...er...consulting firms out there who are just drooling at the thought of ripping and replacing another NetWare installation, usually with Windows. (I'll have another post on the idiocy of replacing eDirectory with ActiveDirectory in the near future.) All that this type of lateral (or downward) move does is line the pockets of the people selling the bill of goods.

Oh, and FWIW, I happened to look at a client's NetWare 6.5 (OES 1) server the other day. It's uptime was 283 days. No muss; no fuss; just service.

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